Athletes with Foot Problems Make News Again in May 2015

Athletes with Foot Problems Make News Again in May 2015In late May 2015, several athletes with foot problems made the national news. Perhaps you’ve heard about the one involving basketball star, Kyle Korver? During an Eastern Conference final against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he unfortunately sprained his right ankle. The 34-year-old pro is expected to spend some time off of the courts recovering. Of course that’s the kind of news that will likely dampen the mood of even the most optimistic Atlanta Hawks fans.

Over the years, much has been written about foot problems in sports and ankle sprains in particular. Studies have been conducted on the topic for decades too. One of the more recent ones was published in a January 2010 issue of The Journal of Family Practice. Although dated, it is in lock step with previous studies and makes a strong argument for the use of preventive medicine.

Podiatrists Recommend Being Proactive Regardless of Career Status

Preventive medicine has obviously come a long way since 2010. As such, athletes with foot problems have a variety of treatment options at their disposal. We’ve listed some, but not all of the treatment options below:

  • Temporary Cessation of Activity or Early Retirement
  • Use of Standard or High-Tech Orthotics
  • Proprioceptive Therapy or Training
  • Use of Special Athletic Shoes (Varies by Sport)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Use of Sports Tape and Specialty Braces
  • ROM and Strength Training Exercises

Of course the list of suggested treatments for athletes with foot problems will vary based on the types of injuries involved. Ankle sprains tend to be among the most common and insidious for athletes because of the potential for long-term effects. For example, athletes that sustain grade three ankle sprains are very likely to experience ligament weakness for extended periods of time. As such, their careers, not to mention their health, may take unexpected hits. To learn more about athletic related ankle injuries, please consult with a podiatrist.

Broken Ankle & Foot Injuries May Warrant Testing for Compartment Syndrome

Foot-Ankle-PainAs we all know, there are many different foot and ankle injuries that may befall an individual. However, some of the most life altering ones are crushing injuries. They, by their very nature, have the ability to cause widespread and sometimes irreversible damage to the foot and ankle. That’s why many Middleton podiatrists believe in examining patients with broken ankles and crushed feet for signs and symptoms typically associated with compartment syndrome.

Compartment syndrome is primarily associated with crushing injuries that involve osseofascial compartments. Osseofascial compartments are found in a human’s limbs. They are actually closed segments within the limbs that are defined by fascia and bone. The foot alone has at least six such areas. They are known as the calcaneal, lateral, interosseous, superficial, adductor and medial compartments. The ankle is also affected by the four compartments that exist in the lower leg. They are known as superficial posterior, anterior, lateral and deep posterior compartments.

Within the defined borders mentioned above are muscles, soft tissue, tendons, blood vessels and nerves. As such, the areas have their own interstitial pressure level, which may be altered by crushing injuries and certain diseases. Once that pressure level is altered, it may disrupt the normal flow of blood. That, in turn, may cause tissue death, nerve damage, skin tightness and the formation of foot and ankle ulcers.

To determine whether or not a person has compartment syndrome, podiatrists may order an interstitial pressure test or CT arthrography and conduct a physical exam. If the interstitial pressure in the broken ankle or foot needs to be adjusted, a podiatrist may recommend that the patient undergo a fasciotomy.

It is a complicated, surgical procedure designed to immediately reduce the pressure in the affected area or areas. Afterward, the patient must typically restrict his or her movements for a minimum of five days and then potentially undergo a second surgical procedure to permanently close the open incisions (e.g. skin grafts). Once the second surgery has been completed, the patient may be faced with additional downtime.

In other instances, podiatrists may suggest that the patients with broken ankles try bed rest, foot elevation, anti-inflammatory medications, pneumatic intermittent impulse compression devices and splinting instead. It really all hinges upon how severe the change in pressure is and how long it has been left unchecked. To learn more about compartment syndrome and the treatments involved, please contact your local podiatry office.

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